Following Gnome's Top Ten Adventure Game list published back on 16th August, 2010 and my own list published on 1st November 2010 (which had to avoid any of Gnome's picks), I've tasked another adventure game fan, Jonathon Wisnoski, to come up with a top ten list - with no restrictions so there is some overlap with Gnome's and my lists, but some interesting choices. I was especially interested to see Eternally Us in the list, since it was a game that impressed my stylistically but not so much as a game.
Looking back on my own list, I realise that two outstanding freeware adventure games - Out of Order and Kings Quest 2.5 Remake - really deserved a place, as did Revolution's Lure of the Temptress. Still, you can't mention absolutely every worthy game I guess...
Jonathon Wisnoski's Top Ten Adventure Games
Here is my list of top ten adventure games. Unfortunately, I completely missed all the great classic text adventures and quite a few classical graphical adventure games, and have not yet had enough time to play many of them. The only rule is one game per series.
Runaway is a graphical adventure game released in 2001 and developed by Péndulo Studios. It has great 2D backgrounds explored in a third person perspective. A sequel, The Dream of The Turtle, was released in 2006 and a third game, A Twist of Fate, in 2009.
Above and beyond the great graphic and interesting story and puzzles are the characters of Runaway. Among these characters are mafia hitmen, drag queens, the nerdy protagonist Brian Basco, and the beautiful damsel in distress and striptease dancer Gina (potentially the hottest woman in adventure gaming).
Full Throttle is a graphic adventure game developed by LucasArts, designed by Tim Schafer, and released in 1995. It is a third person 2D game set in a dystopian future, where you play Ben, the leader of a motorcycle gang.
It is simply a great game with great production values, interesting and challenging puzzles, and a unique and engaging storyline.
Eternally Us is a 2D graphical adventure game created by Ben304 and Calin Leafshade and released in 2010. It is a short free indie AGS game about love and grief.
Eternally Us is a game I would not be including in my list if I was trying to make something definitive, but it is also the reason I love indie games (and I could even see myself putting it in the number one position on this list). It is a small, simple, perfect, and obviously lovingly made game, the type that seems to come out when you have a small talented team with no deadlines or restrictions. It is an emotional journey with simple yet well integrated puzzles, great visuals, amazing music, and above professional level voice acting.
Myst is, of course, the grandaddy of the current graphical adventure genre and probably the most influential graphical adventure game of all time; It kick stated the first person perspective in adventure games in 1993 as well as setting a sales record for all video games that was not topped until 2002 with The Sims. Myst has four direct sequels, a few spin off games and novels, as well as two PC remakes; One of these remakes, realMyst, was released in 2000 and features full free-roaming, real-time 3D graphics.
realMyst makes this list because it takes a great classic game and expands it into a 3D world, without losing any of the charm of the original game. It still features the originals mysterious and fantastical environments, interesting story, and brutally challenging puzzles.
Grim Fandango is a 1998 LucasArts graphical adventure game, and the first by LucasArts to use 3D graphics overlaid on static backgrounds. The story follows Manny Calavera, a travel agent in the land of the dead, as he attempts to save the virtuous soul, Meche Colomar.
Grim Fandango is just an amazing game, with a great story, good graphics, and engaging puzzles; A true classical adventure title.
Syberia is a 2002 adventure game, designed by Benoît Sokal. It has 3D animated characters and static 2D backgrounds. In 2004 a sequel was released, with another planned for 2010 or 2011.
Syberia has long been a favorite of mine, and it was the first great adventure game I ever played. It features Kate Walker, a big city lawyer sent to a remote french village. She soon must lose her city ways, as she undertakes an adventure across Europe. What really struck me was the steampunk art and environments and the amazing voice talent of Sharon Mann.
Return to Mysterious Island is a 2004 3D node based graphical adventure game, developed by Kheops Studio. It is based on Jules Verne's novel The Mysterious Island, and a sequel to the book's story. In 2009 a sequel was released, Mina's Fate.
It has an great story, amazing realistic puzzles, and my favorite voice actor, Sharon Mann. Return to Mysterious Island has always reminded me of a long time favorite, Syberia, but with better puzzles. The game's protagonist, Mina, is a strong willed adventurer stuck on an wild and uninhabited island. As she explores she discovers the artifacts and living spaces left behind by Captain Nemo.
3. The Whispered World
The Whispered World is a 2010 traditional 2D point and click graphical adventure game with hand drawn graphics and animations.
The Whispered World made it so high in my list because of its interesting, very storybook, fantasy story and its great hand drawn graphics. The story is about the adventure of a very unadventurous 12 year old boy, Sadwick the sad and bumbling circus clown. I started off disliking Sadwick's negative attitude, but was soon drawn into his adventure as Sadwick, despite his defeatist attitude and the odds stacked against him, gives it his all in his journey to save the world.
The Longest Journey is a graphical adventure game, released in 1999 by Funcom. It has a long complex fantasy storyline and high production values. It got a sequel, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, in 2006.
The Longest Journey has long been one of my favorite games because of its great fantasy story (fantasy being my favorite genre). It is just a terrific tale filled with magic and adventure.
The Dig is a 1995 2D, serious science fiction, graphical adventure game, developed by LucasArts.
The Dig is my favorite adventure game of all time because it brought me into the adventure like no other game ever has. I literately sat riveted to my seat for the entire game, playing it in one siting (and it is not too short of a game). All aspects of the game just combine so seamlessly to create an adventure filled with mystery and wonder.
I also want to mention Fahrenheit for its unique gameplay and Sanitarium for it great psychological thriller storyline; Either of these games could easily find a place on this list.
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